Donna Karan Steps Down as Head of her Company

Donna Karan is stepping down from her daily duties at her namesake company, Donna Karan International, to focus on her philanthropic work. Karan, 66, will remain as an advisor to DKI, but will be spending most of her time with her other company and foundation, Urban Zen.

LVMH and I have made this decision after much soul-searching, Karan said. LVMH became majority shareholders of DKI in 2001. I have arrived at a point in my life where I need to spend more time to pursue my Urban Zen commitment to its fullest potential and follow my vision of philanthropy and commerce with a focus on health care, education and preservation of cultures. After considering the right time to take this step for several years, I feel confident that DKI has a bright future and a strong team in place.

Caroline Brown, ceo of DKI, added: Donna Karan is a visionary designer, who changed the way women dress by redefining power and sensuality. Her influence has been extraordinary and will continue to inspire for years to come. As she steps into this new role, I speak for the many teams at DKI in supporting her great legacy and reinforcing our commitment to it for our next chapter.

The company currently does not have any plans to replace Karan’s role as chief designer. For now, they will be putting a halt on all runway shows and collections. DKI will also be restructuring its teams in order to put a greater focus on the DKNY brand. Sourced told WWD that DKI is thinking about merging the Donna Karan Collection into DKNY, which will then offer a broader price range.

Karan launched her first collection 30 years ago, effectively changing the way women dressed. In 1989, she launched DKNY for her daughter, Gabby. The goal was to create fast fashion for a contemporary market.

At Urban Zen Foundation, Karan will be focused on continuing to make advances in wellness and the empowerment of children. The stand-alone company is owned by Karan and features a collection of basics, jewelry and home decor, all of which is handmade by artisans. Many of the products are made in Haiti, Thailand and Bali.

As I have become more involved with my Urban Zen Foundation and company, it has been a challenge to balance it all. The clock is ticking. I have so many commitments and projects that require my full attention at Urban Zen, as well as my time-consuming philanthropic pursuits in health care, education and preservation of culture. There are only so many hours in the day, Karan said.

Tags: Donna Karan

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